Today’s post is from the sleep-deprived Alex Segura, author of the forthcoming Down the Darkest Street, and we’re excited to welcome him to the Word Nerds today.
“Wow, 2016 is gonna be a big year for you.”
I’ve heard various iterations of this sentence too many times to count over the last six months.
Which, don’t get me wrong, is great. It’s true – 2016 has been and will be a very big year for me.
We had a baby boy last month (Valentine’s Day! Cute Factor One Million!) and I have two novels hitting in short succession: a reissue of my first Pete Fernandez mystery, Silent City, on March 15 and the sequel, Down the Darkest Street, on April 12 – both from the fine folks at Polis Books. On top of that, I have an awesome – day job and some regular freelance writing gigs.
So, yeah. It’s been a huge year – and I’m supremely grateful and happy about that. But this year, like anything else, is not without challenges. Welcoming a newborn to the world is always a magical affair. At the same time, It’s extremely time-consuming and fraught with unexpected twists and turns. You have to stay flexible. Same goes for, to a lesser degree, writing and promoting two new crime novels.
One of the biggest challenges? Letting go.
Pete Fernandez is like a child to me – albeit fictional and in terms of age (if not maturity), fully grown. Silent City and Down the Darkest Street are books that have gone through various evolutionary stages and revisions to become the novels you will hopefully hold in your hand in a few weeks. Like his stories and the version of Miami he lives in, Pete as a character doesn’t stay static from page 1 of Silent City to the last page of Down the Darkest Street. He learns. He stumbles. He pivots. He hurts. He wins and loses. Boy, does he lose.
But at a certain point, that solitary time I spent creating Pete’s stories – featuring a handful of other people, like my agent, editor and a few beta readers – must come to an end. The pages must be proofed and printed, the books must be shipped or uploaded and all that’s left is the reader and the story.
I have no say in this exchange. My work is done.
As a writer (and, to a much greater degree, as a parent) you have to learn to let go. Allow things take their course. Do your best, plan as much as you can and move forward. You can look back, but don’t stare too long.
No amount of fretting, sales rank-checking, agent-emailing, or Goodreads page-refreshing will change things.
But if you do the heavy lifting, put in the hours and write a story you’re happy with, the rest is out of your hands.
Be proud of the book you’ve created and enjoy the fireworks.
Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Miami crime novel SILENT CITY, the first in a series featuring Pete Fernandez. SILENT CITY and its sequel, DOWN THE DARKEST STREET, are out this year via Polis Books. He has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed ARCHIE MEETS KISS storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story and the upcoming ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES. He lives in New York with his wife and son. He is a Miami native.